Mill View – SIPs Passive Solar Home 2024

House Notes – Mill View – SIPs Passive Solar Home

As an architect with a young family, building this home was an opportunity to see how far we could go on a modest budget to create an extremely energy efficient and thermally comfortable home. Having lived in cold weatherboard homes in Central Victoria most of my life, we were about to create for ourselves the single greatest luxury we could imagine. Warmth.

Our philosophy was to prioritise the budget on a well-insulated and airtight building envelope, rather than on aesthetic choices such as high-end materials or gravity defying architectural forms. Of course we also need to make things look beautiful and be appropriate to its context. The simple pitched roof structure is elegant and humble at the same time, as it sits perched on the edge of the escarpment.

We decided to use Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) which provides the structure, an airtight and continuously insulated external shell, and in our case also the internal wall finish. The materials sourced by the manufacturer are low VOC, but in any case we designed in a Heat Recovery Ventilation system (HRV) to provide continuous fresh filtered air while exhausting the stale moist air. This is key to not only providing a healthy indoor environment, but also mitigates structural damage caused by condensation and mould.

Trends in architecture are like trends in fashion. They are popular and look good now, but two years later we are asking ourselves “what were we thinking?” and want to remodel. Part of the ethos of sustainable building is to spend the energy on the manufacture, transportation and assembly of components once, and design them into a building which will be durable and aesthetically appealing enough that it will not need to be modified for its lifespan. It should function and serve its owners as well in 50 years as it does right now.

Sustainability Features

Years Open
    • Energy efficiency:
    • Draught proofing
      Efficient lighting
      Efficient appliances
      Energy monitoring

    • Energy efficiency:
    • Temperature sensors installed around the home to determine when to open or close windows.
    • Passive heating cooling:
    • Cross ventilation
      Heat recovery ventilation system
      Passive solar designed home
      Thermal mass
    • Active heating cooling:
    • Split system airconditioner
    • Water heating:
    • Hot water heat pump
    • Water harvesting and saving features:
    • Rainwater storage - Above ground
      Stormwater management
      Low flow shower heads
      Low flow taps

    • Above ground rainwater storage Type:
    • Corrugated iron tank
    • Above ground rainwater storage Size
    • 100,000 litres
    • Water harvesting and saving
    • Shed runoff stored in tank for garden purposes. We also have a bore for irrigation.
    • Energy Efficient Lighting
    • LED lights throughout
      Natural daylight
    • Window Protection:
    • Eaves

    • Window Protection:
    • Verandah
    • Sustainable materials:
    • Weathertex cladding which is 95% waste timber product fused together with bees wax. Hot water tank in insulated cupboard.
    • Insulation Type:
    • Under-roof
      External walls

    • Ceiling Type:
    • Bulk – glass wool
    • Ceiling Rating:
    • R 6.0
    • Other Insulation Methods:
    • Slab edge 30mm XPS
    • Under Roof Insulation Type:
    • Sprayfoam
    • Under Roof Insulation Rating:
    • R 6.0
    • External Walls Rating:
    • R 4.5
    • External Walls Type:
    • Insulated panel system
    • All-Electric Home?
    • Yes
    • Renewable energy
    • Renewable energy plan supplied by grid
    • Average Daily Energy Consumption:
    • 3.37
    • Total cost of home when constructed:
    • $420,000 2022
    • Estimate of annual savings:
    • 1,000 kWh less electricity used plus zero gas consumption equals approx $1,500 in savings
    • House Size
    • 117
    • BAL Rating
    • BAL – 19: Increasing levels of ember attack and ignition of debris with a heat flux of up to 19kW/m2
    • Roof
    • Insulated panel (sandwich panels)
    • Wall Materials
    • Structural insulated panels (SIP's)
    • Window and Door Types
    • Casement
      Double glazing
      Tilt and turn
    • Universal Design Features
    • 80cm minimum door opening width
      Contrasting colours and material for vision impaired
      Hobless showers
      Lever handles for doors (no knobs)
      Minimum 110cm wide hallways
      No stairs/steps
      Slip resistant flooring
      Tapware to be easily accessed from outside the shower
      Window openings easily accessible
    • Number of bedrooms
    • 3
    • Number of bathrooms
    • 1
    • Garden / Outdoors
    • Composting
      Edible garden
    • Waste Reduction Practices:
    • Book exchange/library
      Compost all food scraps
      Swap with friends and neighbours
    • Healthy home features
    • Airtight house design
      Automated ventilation system
      Cabinet design to minimise dust collection
      Carpet free - tiles/concrete/timber flooring throughout
      Chemical free cleaning products used
      Cross flow ventilation
      Formaldehyde free cabinets
      Heat recovery ventilation (HRV)
      Indoor plants for air filtration
      Low VOC paints/sealer/varnish
      Natural light and ventilation
      Natural oil sealer/finishes
      VOC free paints/sealer/varnish
      Wax based sealer/finish
Smeaton VIC 3364
    • Housing Type:
    • Standalone House
    • Project Type:
    • New Build
    • Builder
    • Per Bernard and Structural Panels Australia
    • Designer
    • Matthew Turner - Enduring Domain Architecture

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